FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (6/22/09) – The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) commends the inclusion of end-of-life planning and advanced care planning measures and directives as stated in Senate Bill 1251, The Senior Navigation and Planning Act of 2009, recently introduced by Senator Mark Warner (VA) to enhance health care choices for seniors, with specific reference to heart failure.
“The Society is pleased that Senator Warner has highlighted the difficult decisions regarding end-of-life care faced by thousands of Americans and their families every day,” said Douglas Mann, President, HFSA. “We look forward to meeting with Senator Warner and other members of the U.S. Congress regarding these and other issues which could potentially benefit millions of heart failure patients, caregivers and families.”
Thanks to major advances in medical and surgical management, patients with heart failure often live long, productive, and fulfilling lives. In addition, as highlighted in this bill, many patients with heart failure have advanced illness and are in need of end-of-life decision-making and care.
Advanced directives and planning measures for care are crucial aspects of the management of patients with heart failure. Availability of skilled end-of-life care is essential to enhance the support and well-being of both patients and families, and to optimize patient quality-of-life and dignity through advanced stages of illness.
About Heart Failure
Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart muscle becomes weakened after it is injured, most commonly from heart attack or high blood pressure, and gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs. Many people are not aware they have heart failure because the symptoms are often mistaken for signs of getting older. Heart failure affects from 4.6 to 4.8 million individuals in the United States. Demographic and clinical evidence strongly suggests that the prevalence of heart failure will increase throughout the next decade. Ten to 15 years ago heart failure was considered a “death sentence;” however, recent advances in treatment have shown that early diagnosis and proper care in early stages of the condition are key to slowing, stopping or in some cases reversing progression, improving quality of life, and extending life expectancy. For more information on heart failure, please visit www.abouthf.org.
About the Heart Failure Society of America
The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) is a nonprofit educational organization, founded in 1994 as the first organized association of heart failure experts. Today HFSA has over 1,500 members and provides a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure research and patient care. The Society also serves as a resource for governmental agencies (FDA, NIH, NHLBI, CMS). The HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is designed to highlight recent advances in the development of strategies to address the complex epidemiological, clinical and therapeutic issues of heart failure. Additional information on HFSA can be found at www.hfsa.org.